The time change can do this for your health

Every year at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March, clocks are put forward in the United States, marking the start of Daylight Saving Time.

Although the clocks turn back day in the fall is sometimes considered the “good” day, as people spend an extra hour in bed, the system of turning the clocks back twice a year can be controversial.

In 2019, the European Parliament voted to scrap daylight savings time after a study found that 84 percent of people in countries that observed daylight saving time would want it scrapped.

However, a YouGov poll found that a majority of Brits were marginally in favor of keeping it, with 44 per cent voting to keep the current system and 39 per cent voting to scrap it.

There are also some health concerns associated with daylight saving time, as some studies have shown that it disrupts the body’s natural sleep cycles, which can affect both physical and mental health.

How does turning back the clocks affect our health?

How does changing the clock affect physical health?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the human brain has a biological clock, also known as the circadian rhythm, which runs on a 24-hour cycle.

Whether you gain an extra hour of sleep or lose an hour of sleep, it disrupts the sleep cycle and can be difficult for some people to fit back into a normal schedule. Disrupted sleep could also potentially lead to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

A study from 2019 by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital examined the effects of sleep deprivation on heart disease in mice. It found that mice whose sleep cycles were disrupted developed larger arterial plaques after 16 weeks compared to mice with normal sleep patterns.

The sleep-deprived mice also had double the amount of certain white blood cells in their circulation and lower levels of hypocretin, a hormone that plays a key role in regulating sleep and wake states.

“This appears to be the most direct demonstration to date of the molecular relationships that link blood and cardiovascular risk factors to sleep health,” said Dr. Michael Twery, director of the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research at the National Heart, Lunch and Blood Institute in the US.

Losing an hour of sleep during the spring time change has been linked to a rise in heart attacks and strokes. In the US, hospitals report a 24 percent spike in heart attack visits every year on the Monday after the time change.

Turning back the clocks means an extra hour in bed

(Getty Images)

Research has also shown an increase in car accidents as cars back up during the colder months as drivers adjust to the daylight saving time.

According to data from Zurich Insurance, Drivers are more likely to have accidents between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. in November because the evenings get darker earlier. After the time change, the company saw a 10 to 15 percent increase in the number of accidents during this period compared to the rest of the day.

How does changing the clock affect mental health?

When the clocks go back in the fall, we get an extra hour of daylight in the morning—but that only lasts for a couple of weeks before the days start to get shorter and the sunrise gets later and later.

On the shortest day of the year, December 21st, Britain enjoys less than eight hours of sunlight.

The increased darkness can lead to low mood and depression in some people, as well as fatigue, muscle pain and weakened bones due to a lack of vitamin D from sun exposure.

Some people also suffer from seasonal depression (SAD) due to the shorter days. According to the NHSSymptoms of SAD include persistent depression, loss of pleasure or interest in normal daily activities, irritability, feelings of despair or guilt, and sleeping longer than normal.

The health service says the lack of sunlight can prevent a part of the brain called the hypothalamus from working properly, which can affect the production of melatonin (a sleep hormone) and serotonin (a mood hormone) as well as the body’s circadian rhythm. The time change can do this for your health

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